Tag Archives: Human rights

US Military Clears Itself of Blame in Syria Strike That Killed ‘Piles’ of Women and Children

“It’s the standard government line: Mistakes were made but there was no wrongdoing. But if the same mistakes were being made over and over again for years, shouldn’t someone have done something about it?”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 5-18-2022 by Common Dreams

Airstrike on Baghuz – March 2019. Photo: Voice of America {public domain}

No U.S. personnel will be held accountable for a March 2019 airstrike that killed scores of Syrian civilians including women and children, the Pentagon said Tuesday in announcing that an internal investigation into the massacre found that no laws of war were broken and that there was no cover-up of the incident as alleged in a New York Times exposé.

An executive summary of a classified investigation led by U.S. Army Gen. Michael Garrett stated that “no rules of engagement (ROE) or law of war (LOW) violations occurred” in connection with the March 18, 2019 strike near the Syrian town of Baghuz that, according to an initial battle assessment, killed around 70 people. Continue reading

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Progressives Vow to Fight as DeSantis Signs Bill Banning Protests at Florida Homes

“H.B. 1571 builds on the unconstitutional foundations of the anti-protest bill last year,” said one activist, “and only reaffirms our will to make sure our voices are heard in order to create a brighter future for the people of our state.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 5-17-2022 by Common Dreams

George Floyd protests in Miami, Florida on June 6, 2020. Photo: Mike Shaheen/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Critics are calling a new Florida law unconstitutional following Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signing of H.B. 1571, which bans protests outside homes, on Monday.

The new law, which has drawn comparisons to a separate statute effectively allowing the killing or wounding of protesters, makes “picketing or protesting” outside private residences a second-degree misdemeanor crime punishable by as many as 60 days behind bars, up to a $500 fine, and six months’ probation. Continue reading

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‘We need to take an unusual step’: a Polish feminist’s message to her US sisters

I’ve seen what a draconian abortion law can do in Poland. Here is what I think we should do

By Klementyna Suchanow  Published 5-12-2022 by openDemocracy

Protest against Poland’s abortion laws held in Gdansk on 10-24-2020. Photo: LukaszKatlewa/Wikimedia Commons/CC

I co-founded the Polish Women’s Strike, which led a series of anti-government demonstrations following the almost-total outlawing of abortion in 2020. I have spent six years of my life protesting attempts to restrict women’s access to it and to defend democracy. That’s why nothing surprises me about the Roe v Wade situation in the United States. In fact, there is a clear similarity: public opinion says one thing, while a group of zealots forces an entire nation to do the opposite.

Poland has had restrictive laws in place since 1993, with abortion only legally available in cases of rape and incest, threat to the mother’s life, or severe foetal abnormality. After an unsuccessful attempt to further restrict abortion in the Polish Sejm (the lower house of the country’s parliament) in October 2016, a law banning the abortion of non-viable foetuses finally came into force on 22 October 2020. It was imposed by the Constitutional Tribunal, an institution whose independence and legality is itself in question. The new law means that women are now forced to carry their pregnancy to term and give birth to a dead foetus. Continue reading

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‘Reprehensible’: Biden Slammed for Urging States to Spend Untapped Covid Funds on Cops

“The real crime,” said one critic, “is giving this money to cops instead of using it for air cleaning to protect the American people from the airborne plague that has killed more than a million of us.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 5-13-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: manhhal/flickr/CC

News that President Joe Biden is planning to urge states and cities to use unspent money from last year’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package to further increase police funding elicited furious responses on social media Friday.

NBC News first reported that the president is expected to make his reallocation request on Friday during a White House event with mayors and law enforcement officials. The meeting is scheduled to take place just one day after Politico reported that the Biden administration is preparing to ration vaccines as Senate Republicans continue to stonewall a multibillion-dollar Covid-19 aid package. Continue reading

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Nationwide ‘Bans Off Our Bodies’ Rallies Planned for Saturday

“With the Supreme Court planning to overturn Roe v. Wade, we are at a tipping point in the fight to be able to make decisions about our own bodies, lives, and futures.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 5-13-2022 by Common Dreams

Supreme Court rally after the decision on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt Texas abortion case, 2016. Photo: Adam Fagen/flickr/CC

People across the United States are planning to take to the streets on Saturday, May 14 to protest right-wing attacks on abortion rights, including the looming reversal of Roe v. Wade.

Pro-choice groups—including Planned Parenthood organizations, Liberate Abortion, MoveOn, Service Employees International Union, UltraViolet, and Women’s March—are putting together marches, rallies, and other events for the “Bans Off Our Bodies” day of action. Continue reading

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House Panel Exposes How ‘Shameful’ Meatpackers Put Profits Over Worker Health During Pandemic

“The report shows that corporate giants like Tyson and Smithfield worked closely with the Trump administration to keep their operations running despite the risks to workers.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 5-12-2022 by Common Dreams

Workers at the Sam Kane beef slaughterhouse in Corpus Christi, Texas. Photo: USDA/flickr

A congressional report published Thursday revealed that meat processing companies worked with and lobbied the Trump administration to continue operating during the Covid-19 pandemic, despite the danger to workers in the high-risk industry.

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis report—entitled Now to Get Rid of Those Pesky Health Departments!—shows how major meatpackers including Tyson Foods, JBS USA, and Smithfield Foods engaged political appointees in the Trump administration in “an aggressive campaign to ensure their facilities remained at maximum capacity.” Continue reading

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Extinction Rebellion Vows to Fill the Streets in Response to UK’s New Protest Limits

“It is foolish to think that announcing new curbs in the Queen’s Speech will stop people taking to the streets to demand their government act to ensure a safe future.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 5-11-2022 by Common Dreams

Image: Rose Finn-Kelcey/Twitter

The climate movement Extinction Rebellion on Wednesday revealed plans to bring millions of people into the United Kingdom’s streets on September 10 in response to the government’s latest efforts to enact new limits on protest.

In the Queen’s Speech—which outlines the government’s priorities at the ceremony to open a new session of Parliament—Prince Charles on Tuesday announced the Public Order Bill containing anti-protest measures that the House of Lords last year rejected as “draconian and anti-democratic.” Continue reading

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Study Reveals Sweeping Extent of ICE’s Secret Surveillance Dragnet

“In its efforts to arrest and deport, ICE has—without any judicial, legislative or public oversight—reached into datasets containing personal information about the vast majority of people living in the U.S.”

By Brett Wilkins   Published 5-10-2022 by Common Dreams

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is operating a digital surveillance dragnet through which the agency is able to access information about nearly every person in the United States, a two-year investigation by researchers from the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law revealed Tuesday.

The study—entitled American Dragnet: Data-Driven Deportation in the 21st Century—found that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “has built its dragnet surveillance system by crossing legal and ethical lines, leveraging the trust that people place in state agencies and essential service providers, and exploiting the vulnerability of people who volunteer their information to reunite with their families.” Continue reading

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Privacy Advocates Celebrate ‘Big Win’ Against Facial Recognition Giant

“This settlement demonstrates that strong privacy laws can provide real protections against abuse,” an ACLU attorney said of a deal with Clearview AI.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 5-9-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Pixabay

A historic settlement filed in court on Monday highlighted the power of Illinois’ strong privacy law and will result in new nationwide restrictions on a controversial technology company infamous for selling access to the largest known database of facial images.

The deal permanently banning Clearview AI from providing most private entities with free or paid access to its database stems from a lawsuit that the ACLU and partners f in 2020, arguing that the company violated Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). Continue reading

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Green Groups Blame Bolsonaro Policies as Amazon Deforestation Sets New Monthly Record

“The Bolsonaro administration is abetting deforestation and environmental crime,” said one campaigner, “and what we harvest are these terrible, scary, revolting numbers.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 5-6-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Amazon Watch/Twitter

Brazil’s space research agency revealed Friday that deforestation in the country’s Amazon rainforest last month shattered the previous record for April, a development one conservation campaigner called “very scary” and an indication of the criminal level of environmental destruction occurring under the administration of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

The National Institute for Space Research said nearly 400 square miles of the world’s largest rainforest was destroyed in Brazil last month, an area the size of 1,400 soccer fields and by far the biggest loss for April since record-keeping began in 2015, Agence France-Presse reports. Continue reading

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